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C2007-31

Dear Christopher Cat

I read about Slentrol, the new drug for dog obesity. Does it work for cats as well? My cat is rather plump.

Christopher Responds

No. Only dogs may take Slentrol.

You are wise to ask before giving a dog medication to a cat. After all, we cats are not simply small dogs.

We have a uniquely feline metabolism, so some medications that are safe for dogs are toxic to us. Slentrol is one of them.

The drug works primarily by reducing the dog’s appetite.

I know many dogs that need to eat less than they do, although I think they could forego the drug if their humans simply fed them smaller quantities of dog food.

Slentrol also decreases the dog’s fat absorption, though this effect is minor compared with the drug’s appetite suppressant effect.

The most common side effects in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, diminished energy and complete loss of appetite.

My cat sister Cali could afford to lose a pound or two, but she shouldn’t take Slentrol because the drug can be fatal to cats.

Slentrol can cause feline fatty liver syndrome, also called hepatic lipidosis, a condition that can kill us cats.

Instead of using Slentrol, help your cat lose weight by making a gradual transition to a weight-loss diet. You may also need to limit the amount of food she eats.

Increase exercise by encouraging her to play with a laser light toy, catnip mouse or my favorite toy, a feather or streamer on a string.

But keep her away from medications meant only for dogs.

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